All posts by Rob

The 7 Labour MPs who have left to form The Independent Group.

Seven Labour MPs have resigned from the party to found The Independent Group.  The full list is as follows:

Luciana Berger
Ann Coffey
Mike Gapes
Chris Leslie
Gavin Shuker
Angela Smith
Chuka Umunna

The have made it clear that they do nt believe the Labour Party in its current form should govern.

The have published the following: Statement of Independence

“We are leaving the Labour Party to sit as the Independent Group of Members of Parliament.

Our primary duty as Members of Parliament is to put the best interests of our constituents and our country first. Yet like so many others, we believe that none of today’s political parties are fit to provide the leadership and direction needed by our country.

Our aim is to pursue policies that are evidence-based, not led by ideology, taking a long-term perspective to the challenges of the 21st century in the national interest, rather than locked in the old politics of the 20th century in the party’s interests.

As an Independent Group we aim to recognise the value of healthy debate, show tolerance towards different opinions and seek to reach across outdated divides and build consensus to tackle Britain’s problems.”

Commons Chaos

Government can no longer command a majority in the House of Commons.

Two votes in 24 hours have demonstrated that the government has lost control of the House of Commons in the critical run up to a meaningful vote on the only deal on the table for leaving the European Union. Yesterday the Commons voted by 303 to 296 to limit the government’s tax administration powers in the event of no deal. Today they voted to require the PM to come back with a new deal within three days if the current deal is voted down.

In years gone by this would have meant the collapse of the government and a general election. Since the introduction of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act however the lame duck government can limp on, incapable of passing important legislation, until a formal motion of no confidence is passed.

The Labour Party has indicated that they plan to table such a vote if, as is likely, the Government loses the meaningful vote on May’s Brexit deal.

What can we probably expect?

  • May will almost certainly lose the vote. She could even put her own neck on the block threatening to resign is she loses.
  • May or her deputy, in the event she goes, will have no chance at all of getting the EU agree to a different deal within three days
  • With 70 days before Britain is set to leave the EU there will be no deal and no prospect of one.
  • Parliament may spend some of that time discussing alternatives before concluding that there is no majority for any plan.
  • There are then just three alternatives:
  1. We leave without a deal on March 29.
  2. There’s a general election – this may be enough to persuade the 27 EU countries to delay Article 50 but no guarantee that they we will – so no deal exit on March 29
  3. There’s a 2nd referendum. This may be enough to get Article 50 extended but no guaranteed that parliament will allow it.

What can we definitely expect?

  • More chaos.

No Confidence Vote May Strengthen PM

The vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister as leader of the Conservative Party will take place this evening (Wednesday 12 December). Graham Brady (above), Chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, announced this morning that he had received the necessary 48 letters to trigger the vote.

It is likely that the PM will win. The PMs opponents within the party have struggled to reach the magic number of 48 letters in recent weeks. In other circumstances that would wound a sitting leader, damaging them enough to precipitate defeat. In these unusual times the anti May caucus, needs to find another 100 plus MPs that will vote against May at 6pm tonight. That would mean no new leader before the deadline for a parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal of 21 January. The result of voting the PM out would almost certainly lead to a no deal Brexit. Most Tory MPs don’t want that.

If May wins she’s safe from another vote for 12 months by which time she will have probably have left office of her own accord. In that event, the attempt to unseat the PM by hard line Brexiteers, will have backfired.

The Rise of Renew

According to several pundits, the Leave vote in 2016 would precipitate a realignment in UK Politics. Whilst Brexit has dominated the political discourse ever since, the main parties remain intact and the voters are faced with the same choices they faced before the referendum.

The first National Assembly of the Renew Party may herald the beginning of a challenge to that status quo. The event taking place in Westminster today welcomed around 200 activists who gathered to discuss ideas and plan the disruption of the status quo, with the primary goal of pushing a second referendum. Party co-leader Annabel Mullin revealed that the party already has around 120 candidates in place to fight the next election with that number expected to rise significantly. “We are planning for elections… local, regional and national,” Mullin confirmed.

Whilst the party is still small, the resounding applause for every single speaker, indicates that The Renew Party may well be the most unified party in the country.